Seeds: Gerrymandering, the process in which politicians have the power to draw their own voting districts, has existed since America’s creation, and continues to play a vital role in the shaping of the federal government.
Core: Every ten years, after data from the national census has been collected, state legislatures use information compiled from the census to redraw congressional voting districts. If the legislature is Republican controlled, it will draw districts so that Democratic voters receive less representation and vice versa. These legislatures work to ensure that there as few swing districts (voting districts in which either party is viable to win) as possible.
Skin: At this point in American politics, gerrymandering has become so ubiquitous, that it rarely becomes a topic of discussion in mainstream news media. However, today a case is being put in front of the Supreme Court about racial gerrymandering in North Carolina and Virginia. In this case, the state legislature pushed minority voters, a group that is predominantly Democratic, into the same district, or split up districts, making it easier for Republicans to win the surrounding districts. The defendants (people suing the state) argue that this was also to try and limit minorities from gaining electoral power in the states.
Leaves: What’s important to remember about this practice is that it is not secluded to one political party. Both Democrats and Republicans gerrymander in their power grabbing efforts, and that fact is absolutely terrifying. If only one party is ensured to win a certain congressional district, current and potential congresspersons are encouraged to become more radical in their beliefs, making them less likely to participate in bipartisan efforts, for the sake of pandering to predominantly conservative or liberal voters.
Food For Thought: Do you think gerrymandering is a problem? Is there a practical solution to ending this practice?